This January, Deerfield welcomes exchange student WenXin Dong ’18 from the prestigious Markham College in Lima, Peru. Dong will be on campus until the end of February.
Dong was born in Beijing, China but moved with her family to Lima in 2010. A native Chinese speaker, she began attending Markham in the fourth grade, picking up English and Spanish as her second and third languages.
Though it is currently summer vacation in Peru, Dong decided to participate in the Deerfield exchange program to broaden her worldview and “explore the world outside the Markham bubble.”
Dong first visited the United States through a Round Square Regional Conference in Los Angeles where she was able to meet many students of diverse cultures and backgrounds.
“[Because of the conference], I became really interested in America and what [it] had to offer,” Dong said. “Being an adventurous person and someone who enjoys challenges, this exchange seemed to be the perfect fit for me.”
Dong has enjoyed her experience at Deerfield so far, noting that she has transitioned very smoothly.
“Everyone at Deerfield is so incredibly friendly and accepting,” she explained. “Whenever I get lost, I find that anyone I ask will take me wherever I need to go, even if he or she is not headed in the same direction.”
She also added that her teachers have been very supportive in helping her acclimate to the new environment and she is appreciative of everyone’s efforts in easing her transition.
Dong’s favorite Deerfield class is Introduction to Studio Art, taught by Mrs. Mercedes Taylor. A passionate artist, Dong described the class as an opportunity to express her creativity and focus on her technique.
In her free time, Dong enjoys drawing, reading, and watching crime movies. Back in Peru, she also spent time coding and baking various desserts. At Deerfield, she is on the JV swim team and hopes to become involved in other clubs on campus.
During her first week here, Dong noticed some differences between the American school system and the Peruvian school system. For example, Markham observes a rotating block schedule with eight periods per day, and students are not as free to select their own classes. Additionally, students there must wear a uniform and girls are prohibited from painting their nails or wearing jewelry unless they have religious reasons to do so.
Dong also noted that the style of teaching at Deerfield differs from that at Markham. “From what I see, Deerfield students are very engaged in the classroom,” she described. “Teachers really emphasize class discussions. In Peru, most teachers prepare a PowerPoint and hand out worksheets.”
Dong explained that she feels motivated by Deerfield students’ hard work and focus on obtaining a good education and looks forward to the rest of her time here.